Jean MacFarland Kerr

Jean MacFarland Kerr

Associate Professor of Theatre Arts

M.A., Ohio State University; B.M.,

A faculty member since 1990, receiving tenure in 1993, Jean has worked tirelessly to improve the movement education of the theatre students.  After revamping the dance program, Jean has developed the movement for the actor program to include Asian philosophies and courses in stage combat using standards established from the Society of American Fight Directors.  Jean has taught courses in dance technique: Modern II, Modern III, Ballet II, Ballet III, Jazz II, Jazz III, Tap I, Tap III, dance improvisation and contemporary partnering; Dance theory: Dance History, Dance Composition for the Solo Form, Dance Composition for Group Form; Movement for the Actor I, Movement for the Actor II, Rapier & Dagger, Sticks & Stones, and a travel course to Japan exploring Japanese Theatre in the framework of the Asian view of the human body and the transfer of energy between artist and audience.

At IWU, Jean has choreographed numerous musicals (too scared to count them all) and dance concerts.  She has worked vigorously to bring professional dance guest artists to IWU to work with the students in both classes and productions.  Jean served as May Term Director for the university for five years.  During her appointment she revamped the international travel courses procedures and wrote the handbook for the program.  Jean also brought numerous guest speakers, artists and dance companies to the campus.

Jean’s professional work spans a broad spectrum of theatrical movement.  She directed her own professional dance company for 10 years, performing in Chicago and North Carolina as well as in venues throughout the tri-state region.  Her company received merit on the ACDFA Choreographer’s Venue.  Internationally, she has worked as an assistant Fight Director for Romeo and Juliet at the National Theatre of Taiwan, and taught stage combat in Mooseburg, Germany for the theatre arts festival.  Nationally her assistant fight direction includes Sugar Creek Symphony and Song, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Northbrook Theatre, and the Illinois High School Theatre Festival.  She has worked as dance choreographer for The Legend of Daniel Boone, Opera Illinois, Little Theatre on the Square, St. Louis Shakespeare in the Park, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, University of Kansas, Kanopy Dance Company, University of Wisconsin Madison, Illinois State University, Western Illinois University, and locally – the McLean County Dance Association.  Jean has directed at Utah Musical Theatre and Fight Directed for Tooth and Nails Productions in Chicago (where she also created Butoh movement for the company), Nevermore Theatre of Milwaukee, Madison Repertory Theatre and Peoria East Light Theatre. Jean also collaborates with the homeless community in St. Louis to help them create multi-media devised theatre works based on their life experiences.  One of these collaborations is the subject of the documentary "Show Of Strength". 

Jean holds professional certification in: Feldenkrais FGNA, Laban DNB, Society of American Fight Directors, and  Pilates.  She has been a member of SDCS (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society). She has served as a dance advisor for the Illinois Arts Council, on the board of Normal Theatre, and on the board of McLean County Dance Association.